Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 August 2015) . . Page.. 2193 ..
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Liquor Amendment Bill 2015
Debate resumed from 4 June 2015, on motion by Mr Corbell:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.23): This bill does a number of things with regard to the Liquor Act. There are five main parts to it. It adds five additional members to the Liquor Advisory Board, including the Director-General of JACS and the Victims of Crime Commissioner. It makes the Director-General of JACS the chair of the board, replacing the Commissioner for Fair Trading in the process. It extends the ability for the issuer of liquor licences—the Commissioner for Fair Trading—to take into consideration associations beyond just formal legal or financial associates of the applicant. The commissioner will be able to seek “criminal intelligence”.
It creates “secondary supply” offences of serving alcohol to an underage person by anyone at a private place unless it is with the authority of a parent or guardian. It also creates “secondary supply” offences of serving alcohol to an underage person by a parent or guardian unless it is consistent with the responsible supervision of the child.
Each element of the bill would appear, on the surface, to be well intentioned, and I am sure that was the intention of the drafters. But there is no doubt, when you refer to the scrutiny report and consider some of the implications of this bill, that there may be some reasonably far-reaching consequences.
The old expression is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I think there are significant concerns. If we grant new powers to commissioners and apply new penalties to parents and other adults, we should understand not just the intent of this bill but the effect of this bill, and what this will actually mean. Therefore I foreshadow that at the conclusion of my speech I will move that this bill be referred to a committee for review. This is not urgent legislation. It is legislation about which we need a full and comprehensive understanding. Given the significant number of issues raised in the scrutiny report, I think it would be prudent to do so.
I will turn to each element of the legislation. The first is about the numbers being added to the advisory committee. This does not seem to have any significant impact but there has been no case made as to why we need these additional members. Certainly the addition of someone who is already the Director-General of the JACS Directorate makes me wonder why an advisory committee that advises government contains the person essentially who should be receiving that advice—the Director-General of JACS. It does seem somewhat odd.
The second element of the bill that I have concerns about is that the bill makes that individual the chair of the advisory committee. So you have someone advising government, and the chair of that committee advising government is the person who is